Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Celebrating Our 2013 Friends of the Year October 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 6:59 pm

One of the highlights of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library annual meeting is honoring a Friend of the Year — a volunteer or member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Friends’ work in the past year. However, this year, we just couldn’t narrow it down to one, so two awards were presented: to Tyler Henry, of Discover Books, and long-time volunteer Taylor Trusdale.

Tyler Henry works for Discover Books, a company that resells, distributes, and recycles used books. So far, they have donated over 6.1 million books to non-profit organizations in North America and abroad.


In partnership with the Friends, Tyler works to provide privately donated books to schools for needy children; they’ve donated over 20,000 books so far, and each student gets to pick 5 to 10 books to take home. He says it’s a great feeling to see their eyes light up when they realize they can pick out their very own books and keep them forever. In addition, Discover has also provided almost 10,000 books to the FriendShop for sale. Congratulations, Tyler!

Taylor Trusdale is a hard-working and dedicated Friends volunteer. He has worked the semi-annual book sales for many years, often working multiple shifts, and is generous with his time year-round, volunteering twice a week at the Friends’ office. Thank you for your service, Taylor!


Would you like to help the Friends? We always need volunteers to help out at our book sales, work the FriendShop, sort book donations, and more. Learn more about our volunteering opportunities and contact us for more information — who knows, you might be a future Friend of the Year in the making!


Lazerwood: Technology and Craftsmanship in the Heart of Seattle June 4, 2013

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah from Lazerwood Industries about the Northwest’s knack for Imagetechnology and the spirit of craftsmanship and innovation that comes with the sector. Lazerwood emphasizes the natural treatment of wood with electronic forms and celebrates in the creative cross-sections.

The FriendShop at The Seattle Public Library – Central Branch is featuring Lazerwood as a local company throughout the month of June! We’ve got an array of wood iPhone cases just in time for graduation and Father’s Day gifts!


What makes wood aImages an artistic material so special? How do you see this natural resource working in conjunction with technology?

We chose to work with wood because we wanted to add natural warmth to our digital life. Wood is amazingly durable, ages well and is sustainable; all factors that contributed to our choice.

Could you describe the process of lazer and hand treatment in creating your phone case designs?

We source all our wood from a mill in North Carolina and hand treat each sheet of veneer with stain. The veneer is then cut down to a size that will fit in our laser cutter, which looks like a large sawdust spewing printer. The laser cutter is networked to a computer which allows us to cut as much or as little as we want. All packaging and fulfillment is also done on site so our quality and attention to detail is something we keep very hands on.
What qualities makes Lazerwood a “Seattle” born-and-bred company? Does Northwest culture inform your creative design at all?

We love being apart of the PacNW culture that encourages small and local businesses. Our entire region benefits from the supportive climate for creatives and in turn,  Seattle is a city which drives culture for the entire coast and beyond. We wouldn’t want to run our business anywhere else.

What are some of Lazerwood’s dream collaborations or artist partnerships?

We are just coming back from our first convention in New York and are humbled by the number of people who wanted to work with us. We are planning on a collaboration with Rex Ray as well as some artist in New York who we are still negotiating with. Very exciting stuff! Stay tuned. We also have plans to expand our product line to include lamps and clocks, which we are super excited about.


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager,


“Books for Teachers” by Matthew Hestad April 4, 2013

Matthew Hestad, a 3rd grade teacher at Van Asselt Elementary, chats with us today about  Friends of the Seattle Public Library’s teacher voucher program. Since 2009, the Friends have received generous funding from the Renee B. Fisher Foundation to provide classroom books in high-need (Title I) Seattle public schools. Through these grants, teachers receive $100 in vouchers to purchase books for their students. Our Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th will see 49 vouchers redeemed by teachers from 21 different schools!

Matthew Hestad in his classroom

This program puts books into the hands of students by one of the most important figures in a child’s lifetime of learning: the teacher. Here is Matthew’s story.

On the Friends’ Book Sales and “Books for Teachers”:

What drew me to the Friends’ voucher program was the need to get more books into the hands of my students. Every classroom has a leveled library in their classrooms where students can choose from a small variety of books at their own independent reading level and one of our most important reading genre’s is that of informational text or nonfiction. The Friends’ sales have given my students so many more choices of books that match their interest levels and this allows for a much broader range of excitement when reading informational text.

I am a teacher who loops between grade levels and have taught my students for the past three years beginning in first grade. Because of “Books for Teachers”, as my students’ reading abilities have increased, the Friends’ books have enabled my students to explore nonfiction and learn about topics that haven’t been able to read about previously.

When I leave the sale I always have received the maximum number of books that my voucher allows. I get there as early as possible and bring a very large suitcase on wheels. As I walk out the door my suitcase is filled with mostly nonfiction books from topics dear to my students hearts to books that I know as their reading abilities grow they will discover new and more developmentally enticing topics.

The classroom library, with books from the Friends’ book sales.

It’s amazing to be able to choose books for my students. We know each other well and as I browse titles or topics my students’ faces are constantly jumping into my head. “Oh, a book on tornadoes… Ben will hold this book and need it close to him for days. A book about Egypt… Susan will need this for her project. Wow, book #3 from the 39 Clues series is what Ra’Janae was looking for but our library was out of. Tarik will need to read the Gail Gibbons book entitled “Bats”.

I leave the book sale with 100 books and once back in the classroom, in front of my students, and causing great anticipation and excitement, will open the suitcase and begin pulling the many books out for students to see. My student’s excitement is explosive and contagious as they peruse titles and genres. The books immediately get sorted and labeled into different categories like reptiles, fish, weather, insects and of course a favorite… the human body. They go by topic, author, genre etc and are always available.


Thank you, Matthew, for this personal insight into the program. Teachers throughout the Seattle area will be utilizing the Spring Book Sale on April 6th and 7th to restock the shelves of their library classrooms. Come join them in one of the city’s biggest used book sales of the year! All proceeds directly benefit the Seattle Public Library.


9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

Saturday, April 6th 9:00am-5:00pm

Sunday, April 7th 9:00am-4:00pm



Pop-Up FriendShop coming to Beacon Hill Branch – Saturday, March 30th – March 28, 2013

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Pop-Up FriendShop coming to Beacon Hill Branch - Saturday, March 30th -


Awake to Spring! New Art at the FriendShop March 7, 2013


It is spring indeed in Seattle when the rough rain storm can be followed by the lightest kiss of sunlight, only a short time later to fall back into old habits and dampen the city again. Over and over, we see the pattern, though so do the now chirping birds, the bImageursting rhododendron buds, those sounds and smells that seem freshened by the bursts of warm sunlight.

Today is spring’s day, and Kathy Johnson is spring’s painter. Kathy is a local painter and owner of Studio by the Sound. As a textile designer, architectural color consultant, and painter, the many forms of art in which Kathy has explored in life only deepens her mastery of color and pattern. Image

As a Northwest painter, her work captures the daily life we all value in passing. From the ferry to the marketplace to the lone dahlia garden, Kathy transforms the everyday to the heavenly. We are lucky to have so fine an artist retelling our stories!

The FriendShop at the Central Seattle Public Library was delighted to chat with Kathy about her artistic process, vision, and her opinions on the intersect between art and literature. We will be celebrating Kathy’s vision all March at the FriendShop! Her art transferred to notecards, tiles, and trivets are available throughout the month.

   All proceeds from sales go to the Seattle Public Library.

Now, let’s hear from Kathy!


- Could you give the Friends a look at your creative process as you embark on creating a new piece?

(VIEW: YouTube video of the process of a painting)

I usually start with a very small “thumbnail” sketch – which REALLY is small.  About 3”x2”.  Small sketches like this help the artist figure out composition, values and sometimes color.

Then a more complete drawing is done – and then transferred to a piece of watercolor paper.

In the example I’m showing here, I painted a ‘resist’ liquid on those areas that needed to remain white (or protected) while I did background color washes.

Once the background was complete, I removed the resist and could paint those items (barn & flowers) that were painted directly against the background.

Gradually theImage brightest flowers were painted and then on to filling in the foliage, adjusting values along the way.

This particular painting was a commissioned piece of someone’s very large dahlia garden.

 – Do you have any local spots that you draw influence from?

Since I live in west Seattle, several local landscapes here have been my subject matter – along with the tulip fields of Skagit Valley and the lavender farms in Sequim.

 – As an architectural color consultant (a woman of many hats, indeed!), how does your eye for shades, texture, and light play a part in evaluating a building or design project?

The biggest factor in working as a color consultant is the experience of mixing colors (for paintings) on a regular basis.  Understanding how colors are mixed helps you put colors together in a harmonious way.  Light is also a huge part of color – whether artificial, natural, morning, evening, etc.  Colors shift with light changes.

 – What advice would you give for an amateur artist looking to begin painting or retaking up a lost hobby?

Pick up a brush and START!  The hardest part is often simply starting…..even if that first brush stroke isn’t perfect, it’s a beginning.  Once you start, you are moving forward.  Take a class.  Practice, practice, practice.  Also check out art museums & galleries – or simply visit a new place for inspiration.  Ideas come from everywhere.

 – Do you see painting and literature as art forms intersecting?

I appreciate authors who can tell a story with a minimum amount of words…. their books are well-edited.  In the same way, I try to create paintings that are pared down to a minimum amount of detail in order to convey a mood of the scene.  I’d like to give the audience a new way of seeing – and if they need more detail, their imagination can fill in!

All Photos Copyrighted- Kathy Johnson, Studio by the Sound ***

You Can Find Us:

The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch
(on Level 3, Fifth Avenue side)
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Tel: 206.733.9015

We are also happy to assist with sales by phone.

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager,



Cha cha changes… February 5, 2013

Filed under: Book Sales,Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 3:11 pm
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Meet our mascot-Neato Bandito!

Meet our mascot-Neato Bandito!

Hello from the Book Sale!

The past few months have been quite a whirlwind. We moved to a new home in October and immediately hit the ground running to prepare for our Holiday Sale. As soon as the sale was over, we jumped into training on a software system that will help us improve the process for our online sales. We’ve also been settling into the new space, meeting lots of fabulous volunteers and fine tuning our operations. Now that the New Year is well upon us, we’d like to catch our breath and check in.

This is a period of considerable change for the Friends Book Sale. We see this as a positive. As challenging as it can sometimes be, change is an evitable and crucial part of growth. It presents new possibilities for individuals and organizations alike. It allows us to come up for air and see things with a fresh perspective. As we adapt to change, it allows us to reacquaint ourselves with the resiliency, creativity and enthusiasm that is inherent in the human spirit. These qualities are ultimately reflected in the organizations that we serve.

Our new facility is located on the corner of 9th & Lenora, just above the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.  Because we will be holding our sales off-site at various locations in Seattle, it gives the Friends an opportunity to connect with more communities and neighborhoods throughout the city. We believe this will help us extend our reach in a meaningful way and enhance our ability to carry out the mission of the organization. We look forward to the new relationships and partnerships that we will inevitably build along the way. We are presently scouting venues and finalizing plans for our 2013 sales. We’re also hard at work with our online sales, which we believe will increase significantly in the months ahead.

We are excited about the year ahead and we hope that you’re excited too. If you haven’t dropped in to see our new digs, we hope you will pay us a visit soon. We’d love to give you a tour and show you what we’re up to. We are also always on the hunt for volunteers­- new and returning- to help us out with book sorting and other activities. We’re upbeat and friendly. We’d love for you to hang out with us.  There is much work to be done but the days, weeks and months ahead are full of promise, fun and possibility.


Holiday Book Sale- December 8th! November 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 6:15 pm

Just a few of the treasures you’ll find!

Get into the sprit with our Holiday Book Sale, which is taking place on Saturday, December 8th in the Lopez Room at the Seattle Center. Browse through our fun selection of nearly new and gift-quality items including cookbooks, CD’s, DVD’s, art & photography books, better hardbacks and more! The Seattle Center is sparkling this time of year and abuzz with holiday cheer. Make a day of it! Grab a latte on the way, enjoy the sights and sounds of the season and take your time meandering through the sale. All proceeds benefit the Seattle Public Library!

For more information, please visit:

Great gifts for family and friends!


Friendshop: Popping Up In Your Neighborhood! November 8, 2012

Filed under: FriendShop,Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 6:53 pm
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Some of the merchandise at the FriendShop’s four hour Pop Up!

Were you in the Ballard library on Saturday Oct 20? If so you saw something unusual and interesting in the meeting room… The first FriendShop Pop Up! Powered by volunteers, this 4 hour, one day surprise drew 300 visitors who browsed a special selection of book lover treats, word related jewelry, books and bags.  The custom Ballard bag, a tote designed for the event with artwork from the Library Passport Program, was a hot seller. If you missed the Pop Up you may still be able to get the bag and some of the other merchandise at the Friendshop’s permanent location in the Seattle Central Library downtown on level 3.

Why a Pop Up shop? Friendshop manager, Lisa Lee, explained, “Pop Ups have become popular in the food, fashion and unusual markets such as Free Range Mercantile.  The idea behind a pop up shop is for a retail business to pop up in a location different from where their regular business is conducted.  The FriendShop responded to the request by library patrons who don’t always make it into the city but want to shop the FriendShop and support the Friends.  It was exciting to bring the items from the FriendShop to a neighborhood, sell previously-loved books and to promote the work of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library.  We love visiting with our neighbors who don’t always get the chance to see us downtown. “

Will the FriendShop be surprising other neighborhood libraries with a pop up shop? Lee says, “Yes!  We will be doing a Pop Up at another Seattle branch library and are in the process of determining a date and location.  Please vote for your favorite branch for a pop up at

The FriendShop, tucked inside the magnificent Central Library on 4th avenue downtown, is a rich source for special gifts. Did you know that more than 70 local artists and companies are featured there? When you visit the FriendShop you shop local and find items that will delight your book lover friends. Did you know that all Friendshop proceeds benefit The Seattle Public Library?  At the FriendShop you shop local and support the library in one easy trip!


Beacon Hill Library Helps Neighborhood Attract National Attention October 5, 2012

Patrons entering the popular Beacon Hill branch Library

Beacon Hill is one of America’s top neighborhoods according to the American Planners Association (APA) .  Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012 exemplify “exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners  play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and creating jobs,”  the APA writes in their October 1 announcement of the award. Beacon Hill was chosen specifically because of its “ethnic and architectural diversity, scenic vistas, history and amenities.” Lyle Bicknell of the Seattle Department of Planning and Developement cited Beacon Hill Library and the Beacon Hill Light Rail station as important components driving the decision in his comments to KOMO radio news.

The Beacon Hill branch Library, situated half a block from the Light Rail station, offers Homework help 4-8 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday,  Beginning ESL classes, Toddler, Family and Preschool Storytimes, and Bi-Lingual Play and Learn groups that strengthen and reflect the diverse community. In addition the Library hosts large groups in its spacious meeting room, presents one time programs such as Health Care Counseling  for Mandarin, Cantonese and English speakers, and hosts the Beacon Hill Resource Center maintained by Beacon Hill Merchants.

Washington artist Miles Pepper’s kinetic boat sculpture rises above the entry to Beacon Hill branch Library.

The Beacon Hill Branch Library garnered two of its own national awards in 2005 and 2003. It was one of 100 most “noteworthy personalities, places  and extraordinary objects in the world of innovative design,”  according to Metropolitan Home in 2005 just one year after it opened. In 2003, Seattle Design Commission recognized it for Design Excellence citing “bold, modern design.”

In a Friends of The Seattle Public Library profile of Beacon Hill patron Tess Martin she notes, ” Beacon Hill is very diverse, and there are few places where all the different populations can mingle. The library is a great place for that.” Users on Yelp give consistently high ratings to Beacon Hill branch citing great staff, wide and diverse collections, ample parking, and user friendly modern design. Libraries contribute to the quality of our lives and they anchor our neighborhoods. Congratulations to the Beacon Hill branch library for its role in bringing national recognition to Beacon Hill Neighborhood.


Help Students Succeed in School! September 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — friendsofspl @ 8:29 pm

The Seattle Public Library is seeking volunteers to assist students in grades 1–12 with homework assignments in English, history, mathematics, science, social studies and other subjects on a drop-in basis. Volunteers are especially needed at the Beacon Hill, Delridge, ColumbiaHigh Point, NewHolly and Rainier Beach branches. Volunteers must have completed at least one year of college and have experience assisting children and teens as a tutor, teacher or family member. Make a difference today by calling the Library’s volunteer services coordinator at 206-386-4664 or visiting for more information!



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